PURPOSE: The modification of radiation-induced apoptosis by EGCG, known as antioxidants or oxidants, was studied in mice spleens irradiated with a lethal dose. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Male C57BL/6 mice were divided into control, irradiation-only, and EGCG (100 mg/kg i.p. 1 h before irradiation) pretreatment groups. The mice were irradiated with a single whole-body dose of 7 Gy. The apoptosis in the spleens after irradiation of the lethal dose were analyzed by TUNEL assay. In addition, the expression levels of the Bax and Bcl-2 proteins were quantified using a Western blotting method. RESULTS: The induction of apoptosis was detected in the splenic white pulp. The highest level of apoptosis was detected at 8 hours after irradiation. No significant difference was identified by the apoptotic index (53.9% vs. 52.1%, p=0.328) and relative Bax protein expression (0.86 vs. 0.81, p=0.335), between the irradiation-only and EGCG pretreatment group, respectively. However, a lower Bax/Bcl-2 ratio (1.64 vs. 0.97, p=0.037) and higher relative expression level of Bcl-2 protein (0.57 vs. 0.82, p=0.037) was measured in the EGCG pretreatment group. CONCLUSION: The EGCG pretreatment neither decreased the radiation-induced apoptosis in mice splenocytes, nor induced additional apoptosis.